The slide of Lance Armstrong from inspirational champion to disgraced doper turned into a dramatic free fall this morning with both Nike and Livestrong parting ways with the 41-year-old.
The clothing and footwear giant made the announcement "with great sadness" only minutes after Armstrong announced that he was stepping down as chairman of the cancer foundation he created in 1996.
"It has been a great privilege to help grow it from a dream into an organization that today has served 2.5 million people and helped spur a cultural shift in how the world views cancer survivors," Armstrong said in a statement. "This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart."
Nike cited "insurmountable evidence" in making its decision to drop the athlete, adding that company officials felt "misled for more than a decade." The company added that "it does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner."
Um, OK, but why then do you continue to support Michael Vick? I mean, doping is terrible and all — but isn't murdering animals for sport and sick pleasure just plain evil?
"Poor, innocent little Nike!," writes Deadspin in a foul-mouthed tirade. "They feel so BETRAYED by Lance! They couldn't possibly known that he was doping in a sport in which EVERYONE dopes. They were far too busy lashing Honduran child slaves with Air Jordan shoelaces to notice! Meanwhile, Nike still has Alex Rodriguez on its payroll. So if you're gonna do PEDs [performance-enhancing drugs], Nike asks that you just not do them too loudly."
Armstrong said that by leaving his Livestrong Foundation (which Nike intends to continue to support) he hopes to spare the group from any negative effects as a result of "controversy surrounding my cycling career."
The organization celebrates its 15th anniversary this weekend.
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